MDC: Public libraries provide loaner fishing equipment

News from the region
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Public libraries in several communities in the Missouri Ozarks have partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to make fishing more accessible through MDC's Rod and Reel Loaner Program.

"Much like you would go check out a book at the library, now you can go check out fishing equipment and get started enjoying the outdoors as you fish with your family and friends," said MDC Angler Education Assistant Kathleen Wolf.

Through this program, which is available in select communities across the state, individuals can check out fishing poles and tackle boxes for free at participating sites. The fishing poles are equipped with standard spin-cast reels. The tackle boxes are supplied with hooks, sinkers and bobbers for basic fishing opportunities. People need to bring their own live bait or desired lures to bait the hook.

"We have many new libraries in the Ozark Region that are participating in the Rod and Reel Loaner Program," Wolf said. "Fishing is a social activity, so it makes sense that so many communities would get involved in fishing-education programs like this one."

Public libraries across the Missouri Ozarks participate in the program. Specifically, public libraries in Oregon, Howell, Texas, Shannon, Carter, Phelps, Pulaski, Douglas and Ripley counties loan out fishing equipment, as well as the Laura Engels Wilder Library in Wright County. A comprehensive list of participating locations is available at Check at each site for information on check-out procedures and rules specific to that location.

Wolf summarized the program by emphasizing the importance of activities such as fishing in getting children to spend more time outdoors.

"Time in nature is vital to the development of children," she said. "Teaching children to fish increases time in nature and helps their physical and mental development. It's also just a fun thing to do and now folks can get started for free."

This program is an effort by MDC to increase fishing opportunities for all Missouri citizens. To learn more about where or how to fish go online to